Monday, April 29, 2013

Shadow on the Crown by Patricia Bracewell

When King Aethelred is left wifeless, he knows he must marry again. He eyes the temptress, Elgiva, daughter of his most powerful councilor. Wary and paranoid of others, he looks across the narrow sea to the Duke of Normandy to provide a bride. Choosing an alliance to end the Viking Raids, Emma is chosen to be Aethered's bride, even though she is young. When the clever Emma arrives at England, she is greeted by a harsh land, a mad king, Viking Raids, a jealous rival, and a stepson young enough to be her husband.
Having previously read a book on Emma of Normandy, I knew that I wanted to revisit this amazing woman. Bracewell transports readers back to the misty coasts of England. Aethelred the Unready is  cunning, mad and paranoid. He views his new wife harshly, not bothering to hide his disgust and hatred of her. Being a foreigner in a divided and politically hostile court is no easy position, but Emma manages to shine. Her strength and wisdom sharply contrast her isolation as the new Queen. The romantic tension in the book really adds to the book, while the Viking Raids and violence keep this book from becoming a romantic book. Bracewell brings Emma to life. Love, power, war and rage all shadow the Crown of England and those destined to wear it in this amazing debut novel.

Thank you to Edelweiss for the review copy.
Patricia Bracewell's next book, Perilous Tide, will continue Emma's Story.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Roses have Thorns by Sandra Byrd HFVBT Tour Review and GIVEAWAY!

17 year old Elin Von Swedenborg is an adventurous girl. Chosen to accompany her princess to England, she leaves behind a broken engagement and a non existent dowry. When the weary Swedish travelers arrive in England, they meet with Elizabeth. Beautiful Elin quickly catches the eye of the older Marquess of  Northampton, William Parr. Elin's lively manner also earn her the friendship of the Queen of England. When the Swedes depart, Elin is asked to stay and marry Northampton. Soon the Swedish Stranger is the second highest lady in the realm. Renamed Helena, she finds that truly serving her Queen is never easy. Lonely nights, danger and betrayal wait for Helena.

I had never heard of Helena before, and I really enjoyed meeting a new Tudor player. Helena was insightful, sweet and very enjoyable as a character. I also enjoyed the tension that played out between Helena and Thomas. Byrd also portrayed Elizabeth as a strong handed, but benevolent ruler. This is a great novel for those who want a Tudor novel with different players or anyone who wants a great read!!

 I also have 1 paperback to giveaway! Leave a comment, with your contact information to be entered! Open Internationally!!!

Praise for Roses Have Thorns

"In Roses Have Thorns Sandra Byrd has given the reader another amazing heroine to tell the intimate story of England's greatest queen, Elizabeth I. What a unique point of view and deeply moving story Helena von Snakenborg provides. Byrd is especially adept at blending political and private lives. This is a timeless women's friendship novel as well as a poignant love story to cherish--both the roses and the thorns." (Karen Harper, New York Times bestselling author of Mistress of Mourning )

"There is something golden about this tale of Elin, an eager young woman in a strange land, diligent in her duty but alive to love. A tale gracefully told, even as it renders the terrors of treachery that form the crucible of Elin's hard-won wisdom. A heartfelt story of loyalty, longing, life-long friendship, and the many seasons of the heart." (Barbara Kyle, author of The Queen's Gamble and Blood Between Queens)

"Beautiful prose and masterful research combine to bring this fascinating tale to life, treating the reader to fully realized characters and providing an original window through which we can view Elizabeth's court. Ms. Byrd's work will stand as an unforgettable contribution to Tudor fiction." (D.L. Bogdan, author of The Forgotten Queen)

About the Author

Sandra Byrd has published more than three dozen books in the fiction and nonfiction markets, including the first book in her Tudor series, To Die For: A Novel of Anne Boleyn.  Her second book, The Secret Keeper: A Novel of Kateryn Parr, illuminates the mysteries in the life of Henry's last wife.

For more than a decade Sandra has shared her secrets with the many new writers she edits, mentors, and coaches. She lives in the Seattle, Washington, area with her husband and two children. For more Tudor tidbits, please visit Follow Sandra Byrd on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.

Link to Tour Schedule:
Twitter Hashtag: #RosesHaveThornsVirtualTour

 Don't forget to enter for a paperback copy of Roses have Thorns!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

HFVBT Stop for Dangerous Illusions by Amanda Scott

Fiery Danitry Tarrant is betrothed to a man she has never met. When he comes sweeping in after the battle of Waterloo, Daintry is unimpressed. The man looks like his miniature, and spends the day with the Tarrant family. But he excuses himself to spend the night at the neighboring estate, the estate of the hated Deverills. When her betrothed admits to being a Deverill, namely the heir Gideon, he is thrown out. But not before Daintry begins to fall for Gideon. They vow to end the feud, but that is easier said that done. When the past returns to Gideon's life, things are thrown into chaos.

This amusing romance book is a light and perfect read without being mindless. Daintry, our heroine is a feminist being influenced by a feminist aunt. Gideon is more traditional, but learns to love his headstrong woman. The characters are amazing, from the feisty aunt to the cheeky niece. While this book is a romance novel, it's not a bodice ripper. I enjoyed watching the romance bloom. The plot was twisted and interesting, and managed to keep me on my feet. A great romance read!!

About the Author

A fourth-generation Californian of Scottish descent, Amanda Scott is the author of more than fifty romantic novels, many of which appeared on the USA Today bestseller list. Her Scottish heritage and love of history (she received undergraduate and graduate degrees in history at Mills College and California State University, San Jose, respectively) inspired her to write historical fiction. Credited by Library Journal with starting the Scottish romance subgenre, Scott has also won acclaim for her sparkling Regency romances. She is the recipient of the Romance Writers of America’s RITA Award (for Lord Abberley’s Nemesis, 1986) and the RT Book Reviews Career Achievement Award. She lives in central California with her husband.

For more information on Amanda Scott’s novels, please visit the official website.

Also available from Amanda Scott are:
Border Bride

Publication Date: March 26, 2013
Open Road Media
eBook; 344p

Set in treacherous sixteenth-century Scotland, the first volume of Amanda Scott’s Border Trilogy tells the unforgettable story of a woman sworn to defy the knight she is forced to wed—only to discover a love she’ll do anything to claim

As Mary, Queen of Scots, languishes in the Tower of London as a prisoner of her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, war tears Scotland apart. To save her beloved homeland, a proud Highland beauty named Mary Kate MacPherson must wage her own battle when she’s forced into wedlock with a knight, Sir Adam Douglas, from the barbaric borderland of Tornary.

Even as she succumbs to her seductive husband’s sensual demands, Mary Kate vows never to give him her heart. She will belong to no man. But Adam burns with something deeper than desire. Sworn to carry out a long-awaited revenge, he won’t rest until he has vanquished his enemies. Accused of treason, the last thing he expects is to lose his heart to the woman he’s determined to tame but never to love: his own wife.

Highland Fling

Publication Date: March 26, 2013
Open Road Media
eBook; 421p

Forbidden passion has never been more dangerous—or more irresistible—in the first novel of bestselling author Amanda Scott’s spellbinding Highland series

Scotland, 1750. In the aftermath of the Jacobite rebellion, Maggie MacDrumin vows to keep fighting to liberate her people. But the intrepid Scotswoman is risking her life for a dangerous cause. When her latest mission lands her in a London courtroom on a trumped-up larceny charge, she has only one hope of survival. Enlisting the aid of Edward Carsley, the powerful fourth Earl of Rothwell, is a two-edged sword. The seductive aristocrat who awakens treacherous desire is her clan’s mortal enemy—a man she can never trust.

Edward will do whatever it takes to quell another bloody uprising. But how can he fight his passion for the rebellious Highland beauty in his safekeeping? As their lives come under siege, Maggie lays claim to the one thing Edward vowed never to surrender: his heart.

I reviewed this book for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.
Link to Tour Schedule:
Twitter Hashtag: #AmandaScottVirtualTour

Thank you to Amanda and Amy!


Friday, April 12, 2013

Something Red by Douglas Nichols

Irish Healer and Exiled Queen Molly, her lover Jack, her granddaughter Nemain and apprentice Hob are trekking the Pennine Mountains, hoping to cross before being snowed in. Filled with a sense of foreboding and danger, the small party stops at a Monastery for sanctuary. Still the feeling persists, causing Molly to insist the party travel on. The woods prove dangerous, with the dark shadows almost stalking the group. As the group travels on to an Inn and a castle, danger is never far behind.

Something Red combines myths, superstition, danger and mystery to perfection. The sense of foreboding in the novel is the first thing that comes to mind. The danger seems to be present from the first page and is very tangible to the reader. The group looks to Molly for safety, decisions and information. When she is spooked, all know danger is around. Even the oxen.  As the novel goes along, we realize that though Molly is older than normal for this time, she is amazing. A Healer, a Queen, a warrior and a mother. Jack, her lover, is a grizzly of a man. Quiet, he follows Molly's strict orders. Hob is Molly's apprentice and the newest member of the family. His apprehension and astonishment make for great narration. Nemain is the young Queen in training. Though she is young, she has the grace of her grandmother. I loved the way that all the characters function independently of each other, but compliment each other. At the end of the novel, it was hard to tell who was the hero. This novel is a great novel, for the mystery and the characters! It really sticks with you.

I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. Thank you to Netgalley.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

HFVBT Review for Rocamora by Donald Michael Platt

Vicente Rocamora , a Freethinking man, enters the Dominican Order at the bidding of his family. Thought the church can be inhospitable, especially to those not limpezia de sangre, pure of blood. Vicente is charges with advancing his family by becoming a confessor for the royal family, but he longs to destroy the church's cruelty and escape his profession. Vicente quickly becomes the Infanta Dona Maria's confessor and spy for Count-Duke Olivares. But life at the Spanish Court is always a dangerous place.Vicente's old enemies haunt him, as well as new ones. Vicente longs to find out his mother's true origins, and has fallen madly in love with the unattainable Dona Maria.

This book of intrigue moves very quickly. The reader is quickly swept into the Spanish Court and into the Spanish way of life. The politics and church life really make the reader feel swept into the book. I find this an interesting time in history, but Platt brings it to life in all it's glory and despair.Vicente is an amazing character and I really liked him. Platt really brought him to life. I really enjoyed this book and hope to find out where Vicente ends up!
About the Author

Born and raised inside San Francisco, I graduated from Lowell High School and received my B.A. in History from the University of California at Berkeley and won a batch of literary cash awards while in graduate school at San Jose State.

When I moved to southern California, I began my professional writing career. I sold to the TV series, MR. NOVAK, ghosted YOUR HAIR AND YOUR DIET for health food guru, Dan Dale Alexander, and wrote for and with diverse producers, among them as Harry Joe Brown, Sig Schlager, Albert J. Cohen, and Al Ruddy as well as Paul Stader Sr., dean of Hollywood stuntman and stunt/2nd unit director. Also, options were taken on my unpublished WWII fighter ace novel and several treatments.

After living in Florianópolis, Brazil, setting of my horror novel A GATHERING OF VULTURES, Dark Hart 2007, Briona Glen 2012, I moved to Florida where I wrote as a with: VITAMIN ENRICHED, pub.1999, for Carl DeSantis, founder of Rexall Sundown Vitamins; and THE COUPLE’S DISEASE, Finding a Cure for Your Lost “Love” Life, pub. 2002, for Lawrence S. Hakim, MD, FACS, Head of Sexual Dysfunction Unit at the Cleveland Clinic.

Currently, I reside in Winter Haven, Florida. My magnum opus historical novel, ROCAMORA, set in 17th century Spain and Amsterdam during their Golden Ages, was released by RAVEN'S WING BOOKS at the end of December 2008. It has been republished by Briona Glen, September 2011. My completed sequel HOUSE OF ROCAMORA was published by Briona Glen November 2012, and I am polishing a completed novel set in the 9th century Carolingian Empire about another unusual historical character, Bodo, the Apostate.

Also available, is The House of Rocamora.

Publication Date: November 19, 2012
Raven's Wing Books
Paperback; 346p

A new life and a new name … House of Rocamora, a novel of the 17th century, continues the exceptional life of roguish Vicente de Rocamora, a former Dominican friar, confessor to the Infanta of Spain, and almost Inquisitor General.

After Rocamora arrives in Amsterdam at age forty-two, asserts he is a Jew, and takes the name, “Isaac,” he revels in the freedom to become whatever he chooses for the first time in his life. Rocamora makes new friends, both Christian and Jew, including scholars, men of power and, typically, the disreputable. He also acquires enemies in the Sephardic community who believe he is a spy for the Inquisition or resent him for having been a Dominican.

As Isaac Israel de Rocamora, he studies Medicine at Leyden and, at age forty-six, receives a license to practice. That same year Rocamora weds twenty-five year old Abigail Touro, and together they raise a large family. During his time in Amsterdam, Rocamora has a bizarre encounter with Rembrandt, serves the House of Orange as physician, and advises Spinoza before the philosopher’s excommunication. He survives a murder attempt, learns from the great English physician Harvey, and a surprise visit from a childhood friend leads to an unusual business venture.

Life is never routine or dull for Rocamora. The intrigues start with his arrival in Amsterdam and do not end until he takes his last breath.

I hosted this review of Rocamora for Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.

Link to Tour Scheadule:
Twitter Hashtag: #DonaldMichaelPlattVirtualTour

Thank you to Amy and Donald! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

HFVBT Guest Post with M.J. Rose

 Today, M. J. Rose stops in to give us a taste of Seduction.

Victor Hugo

From Chapter 18         
            Reaching out, Jac took Theos hand once more. They were connected again. She felt safer. Then more terrorized. Safety. Terror. All that kept her from falling was his hand. What propelled her forward was his hand. Where their cold skin was touching felt suddenly hot, like molten metal, bonding them, soldering them. Even if she wanted to let go, she couldn’t anymore. They had merged.
Maybe he would jump and decide her fate for her. She was incapable of action. As desperate to step back as to step forward. To throw herself over the edge. To back up away from the edge.
            Theo was talking to her now, holding her hand now. Saying something, but she could
nt make out what. The waterfall was too loud. It was too beautiful. She pulled away.
Finally free. His fingers were no longer clutching hers. The water was coming up to meet her, and then it was cold. So very cold.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

HFVBT Stop for Seduction by M.J. Rose and Special Offer

M.J. Rose continues her Reincarnationist series with Seduction. After her harrowing experience in Paris, Jac L'Etoile is trying to settle back into life. After her ex-boyfriend leaves to return to his family, Jac feels lost. Finding an invitation from her first love to investigate mythological sites in Jersey hidden among Malachi's things, Jac is hurt. Despite Malachi's protests, Jac jets off to Jersey. Reunited with Theo ignites Jac's search for her past. But the mysterious Island has secrets of it's own. victor Hugo, the French novelist came to Jersey in exile and there conducted seances to find his beloved daughter, Didine, who had drowned. Hugo finds that the his grief increases as a spirit stalks him. Linking three different generations, this novel unravels the pain and grief of loss, love and memories.

Jac's back!! Jac makes the perfect heroine for Seduction. As a skeptic with emotional walls, she is tough and vulnerable at the same time. I loved continuing her story and being able to see inside her head even more. I also loved how M.J. kept the mystery alive. I could see parts of it coming together better than in The Book of Lost Fragrances, but I was still shocked!! I enjoyed this book and can't wait to see how the next book in the series plays out!

Link to Tour Scheadule:
Twitter Hashtag: #SeductionVirtualTour

Publication Date:  May 7, 2013
Atria Books
Hardcover; 384p
ISBN-10: 1451621507

About the Author
M.J. Rose is the international best selling author of eleven novels and two non-fiction books on marketing. Her fiction and non-fiction has appeared in many magazines and reviews including Oprah Magazine. She has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio.  Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the '80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors -  The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Renincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and runs the blog- Buzz, Balls & Hype.  She is also the co-founder of and

Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.

For more information on M.J. Rose and her novels, please visit her WEBSITE. You can also find her on Facebook and Twitter.

I reviewed this book for the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour. Thank you to Amy and M.J. Rose. 
Now for the Special Offer. You can win this necklace, Which is featured on the cover of Seduction!!
How?? Simply do one of the following!
1. Put the book on their To Be Read shelf on Goodreads:
To participate:
- Add the book to the Goodreads shelf, and tell me. This will place you in the grand drawing! Or
- pre-order SEDUCTION, please  send their receipt to